Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Stars in Winter

    Common wisdom dictates that when winter comes, a motorcyclist has to put his/her trusty steed into winter storage, tidy the riding gear away in the wardrobe and patiently wait for for spring. However, most motorcyclists are made of sterner stuff than that, and many of us ride all all year round.

    And the most die-hard enjoy nothing better than going to winter motorcycle rallies. Some of these are well-known, such as the Elefantentreffen in Germany, or the Pingüinos rally in northern Spain. But across Europe, there are many smaller, more confidential and "authentic" winter motorcycle rallies.

    One of these rallies is the "Estrella de Javalambre", which is held each year over the last weekend of January in the little village of Manzaneras, near Teruel, in central Spain.

    As you can see from the poster for the upcoming 2011 edition of the rally (taking place on 29th & 30th January), it really is for die-hard motorcyclists, and not for the weekend rebel types who prefer to hang around their local cafés looking cool and fashionable. The rally adopts the same structure as the Italian Stella Alpina rally: you arrive, sign up (paying a nominal fee), enjoy the evening's party, sleep the hangover off in your tent - pitched before the party, preferably -  and then ride up a steep unsealed mountain track to obtain the official commemorative medal. And that's it.

    In 20 years of motorcycling, I have yet to attend a winter rally, and as this one takes place relatively close to where I live (about four hours' ride), I might go along to see what it's all about.

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